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Let's Go to Saturn! by SMPritchard Let's Go to Saturn! by SMPritchard
Constructed in low-Earth orbit, this ship is part of the first mission to send a human crew to Saturn's enigmatic moon Titan. It's propulsion system is an advanced Z-pinch fusion reactor that will push it out towards the ringed planet in just under a year of travel time. The crew will live and work in the rotating torus as the ship cruises through deep space. The only part left to attach is the large Titan Surface Habitat and Lander module, which the crew will live in and work out of on the surface of Titan
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:icondeveboo:
devEboo Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2015
Okay, enough pussy footing. Let's build it for real!. Come on, come on let's go. +fav Nod Heart 
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:icontakashi-kurita:
Takashi-Kurita Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2015
I love this.   Realistic spacecraft designs are the jam. 
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:iconsmpritchard:
SMPritchard Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you!
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:iconrlstein:
rlstein Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014
I'm in the process of writing a SF story about interplanetary travel set in 2093, and this ship looks almost exactly like what I've been imagining.  Can you give me a sense of scale of this ship; e.g., overall length and the radius of the torus?  Details of internal design would also be helpful.

THanks.
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:iconlongibando:
longibando Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014
Hi. In only 3 emails, I'd give you the concept inputs, from the book. Very few paragraphs. You'd do the rest, given your knowlegde on engineering.
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:iconlongibando:
longibando Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014
It's beautiful. Would you design a ship for me? It's also about a ship to Titan, but the concept come from a book. 
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:iconsmpritchard:
SMPritchard Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Sure! Message me with the details and we can work something out.
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:iconfrancisdrakex:
francisdrakex Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014
I wonder if it might be preferable to have the whole ship rotating around its longitudinal axis, rather than to spin the art-grav ring alone. If the whole ship spins, no rotating joint is required.
I imagine this joint could make problems during long duration exposure to vacuum, radiation and friction. To compensate for the residual friction an electric drive at the hub is necessary, othewise the whole ship would slowly start spinning over time.
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:iconmorbiusx33:
morbiusx33 Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2013
I'm game...
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:iconoverseer:
overseer Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013   Digital Artist
Very nice image. The lighting and overall atmosphere is spot on!
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:iconsmpritchard:
SMPritchard Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you!
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:iconickman:
ickman Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2013
Nice. Have you been getting ideas from Kerbal Space Program? If not, you should take a look at it. :)
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:iconsmpritchard:
SMPritchard Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I've seen it before, but I haven't really drawn much of my inspiration from it. Most of my inspiration comes from NASA concepts, drawings and diagrams from hard SF novels and websites, and sometimes other works of art here on DA.
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:icondaniel-st:
Daniel-St Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2013
but for what are the balls for?

like why so weird design decision ? in space you only need an engine .. there is no air or pressure to harm the ship..
you can add more rooms , more cargo , more skin to the ship..

since the ship will never land on earth you can do what ever you want as long as you have enough man power and money ..
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:icontakashi-kurita:
Takashi-Kurita Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2015
This isn't a "wierd" design.  This looks very much like what NASA has drawn up as concepts for an interplanetary spacecraft. 
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:iconsmpritchard:
SMPritchard Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Those spheres are the fuel tanks.

The ship is so bare-boned because every single gram of unneeded structure is a fuel penalty.
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:icondaniel-st:
Daniel-St Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2013
Not in space .. on earth yes when you have to send then to space.
yet usa will build factories on the moon and crash asteroids on it with metal and other resources to build a space ship.
so you can live with out the weight.. since there is no gravity in space..
am i wrong?

about the "spheres" why not to use a "square" shape? there is no need to use aerodynamics in space so you can any shape you want..
why not to build it in another shape.. like a plate?
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:iconhelge129:
Helge129 Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well, that's not true at all. In space, every gramm counts. Because every gram of mass you add to your ship, you have to expend fuel to move.

It's not true that there is no gravity in space either. In fact, planets exist only because of gravity, and orbits are also possible only because of gravity. Astronauts on the ISS experience about .93G on the ISS, but are in free fall.

Liquids tend to form spheres in microgravity, the optimal fuel tank is thus a sphere.
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:iconsmpritchard:
SMPritchard Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Long-term exposure to microgravity conditions has negative effects on human health, such as muscle atrophy and loss of bone density. There is even some evidence of vision problems developing in males, an increased risk of kidney stones due to the dissolved calcium in the bloodstream from the aforementioned bone density loss, and a weakened heart do to muscle atrophy. If we're going to do long-duration deep space missions, or settle space, we're going to need artificial gravity. The only practical way to do that is to either rotate the entire ship or rotate the habitat section, which provides an accelerational force that the crew feels as "gravity".

The fuel tanks are spheres to equally distribute the pressure of the condensed gasses they contain. It's not about aerodynamics.
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:icondaniel-st:
Daniel-St Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2013
You will sleep in space for over 99% of the time.. with low body temp.
(as a stationary space station i do understand the wheel which will create artificial gravity, )
the trip to mars will take only 2 weeks* with the new nasa engine ,
* 2 weeks - or 1 month.

so again i don't really understand the reason for such weird body structure .
you won't even need to build it strong since there is nothing in space that can harm the damn thing..

(unlike movies like "avatar" you won't travel in space for 6 years .. thats just a very stupid thing to do. )

please note that i am not a professional person so i obviously talk nonsense so don't take me too serious :)
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:icontakashi-kurita:
Takashi-Kurita Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2015
Mass doesn't go away in space.   Every gram of mass means you need more thrust and more fuel to accelerate and decelerate the ship.  The body structure is not "wierd", it's efficient and realistic.   The real-life ISS is organized along the same lines: a long central scaffold with the various modules attached to it.   

You *do* have to "build it strong", because the ship must be able to withstand it's own mass when it accelerates.   

2 weeks is not a realistic travel time to Mars.  To get there in that amount of time you'd have to accelerate constantly at almost 1G for the entire trip, your turnaround velocity when you flipped over and started decelerating would be almost 5% of lightspeed.  

That's not a safe speed.   At that speed if a grain of dust struck you it would vaporize the entire ship.   Current NASA plans project about 8 months of travel time to Mars.   Realistically, even with a powerful fusion motor, it wouldn't be safe to make the trip in less than 3 months, any faster than that and micro-meteorite collisions would simply cause too much damage, they'd destroy the ship before you ever arrived. 
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:iconspectic:
Spectic Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013
I don't know a hell of a lot about space travel but there are a few things that are definitely not right in your arguments that I think need to be adressed.

Just because there is no air doesn't mean you can put as much mass on it as you want. All that mass needs to be pushed, atmosphere and gravity aside. It's simple Newtonian physics that the more mass something has the more force it requires to get it to accelerate at a certain rate, and that means more fuel, which is a limited resource that you don't want to waste in space. You can't build a ship without a certain level of structural integrity, it has to accelerate, which puts force on the ship.

On the subject of not wasting fuel, most ships would probably not be going as fast as possible to get to another planet because it saves so much fuel to accelerate to a certain point and then coast. Also, if you have an artificial gravity wheel, it's not going to work properly while you're accelerating because of the force going towards the rear facing wall.

Pretty sure cryosleep is not a thing yet.

It was not "stupid" for them to spend 7 years travelling to their destination in Avatar. The ship used a lot of theoretical technology to theoretically be able to make it in that time, remember, they didn't just go to Mars or something, they went to ANOTHER STAR, several light years away. They had to accelerate to 70% the speed of light to get there in that time in the movie. They had a shield because at that speed hitting a speck of dust is like hitting a large meteorite. Chances are if we ever go to another star it will take a lot longer than 7 years.

This sort of spaceship design makes a lot of sense, at least, as far as I know.
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:iconbobafetthotmail:
bobafetthotmail Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2013
So far cold sleep is... not doable.

That nasa engine is fraud. If you look at the papers where they do the calcs it's clear that they blatantly cheated on power plant mass.

Although yeah, even with an omnious fusion pulse engine you aren't accelerating at more than 10 or so milligees and that's the highest stress the craft will ever face, which allows you to get away with very flimsy structures.
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:iconghostbirdofprey:
GhostBirdofPrey Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013
I can't be bothered to run numbers at the moment, but would reaching saturn in a year require a long duration burn of a fairly decent acceleration?
If you're burning at 1/4 G for a majority of the mission, you wouldn't even need the torus to simulate gravity.


Anyways, nice ship.
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:iconsmpritchard:
SMPritchard Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Hmm, I actually hadn't considered that. I'll have to do the calculations, but if that's so (and that does sound about right), than I could just do away with the torus section and go with a more standard cylindrical habitat.
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:icondsfportree:
dsfportree Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2013
If your burn is short but hard (say, one G, for the sake of argument) then you'd get up to cruise speed fast and then coast for most of that year. During the coast, if you decided you needed artificial gravity, you'd need the torus or need to spin the ship end over end. After braking hard, you'd need artificial G again in the Saturn system. Same thing during the trip home.

I don't think we see enough torus artificial G spacecraft these days, even though NASA pretty much abandoned the design by the mid-1960s. So I think this is a terrific spaceship. I can imagine Frank Poole going for a jog in it.

Incidentally - research on artificial G toruses - inflatables similar in most respects to Transhab, the NASA-designed basis for the Bigelow modules - was centered at NASA Langley in the 1960s. They never built anything large enough to need spokes in the middle, but never mind - this design has a respectable pedigree.
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:iconbobafetthotmail:
bobafetthotmail Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2013
Toruses do have some slight stability issues due to the gyroscopic effect (see the Sopwith Camel and any other aircraft with a rotary engine), and it's a significantly more complex structure than a simple hab section in a spacecraft spinning end over end.
Not that it's impossible, just that NASA does no more have a very big purse.
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:iconbobafetthotmail:
bobafetthotmail Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2013
I did run a quick calc on the spreadsheet I crafted for my own uses with formulas from Atomic Rockets website. (If you haven't read it, go and do it, a good place to learn)

To get to Saturn in around one year with a full brachistochrone (point and accelerate for half the flight, at mid-flight turn the ship and decelerate for the rest of the voyage), the acceleration is less than a milligee, (a "gee" is a Earth gravity worth of acceleration).

Although in a realistic situation there is the Sun pulling the craft with 1 milligee of gravity pull. You cannot do a full brachistochrone at less than one milligee because of this detail. So it's probably better thrusting for less time at more acceleration (2-3 milligees are still negligible under any human standard) and then coast for a while before turning the ship and start deceleration.

Either way the torus is safe, albeit a bit overengineering imho.
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:iconghostbirdofprey:
GhostBirdofPrey Featured By Owner May 10, 2013
Maybe next time I should bother to do the numbers because my guess was so horribly wrong.
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:iconsmpritchard:
SMPritchard Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I ran some numbers for a brachistochrone flight to Saturn myself a few days ago, and I worked out a maximum acceleration of about 0.0145 g with a mass ratio of 4. The engine power for that kind of burn is phenomenal; 192 GW. The reaction I used was D+He3.
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:iconbinaryrising:
BinaryRising Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You are an amazing ship designer~!
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:iconsmpritchard:
SMPritchard Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you!
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:iconfmilluminati:
fmilluminati Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Not enough artists work on creating feasible spacecraft, it's things like this (not "ships floating in space) that we'll see in our future... personally, because it's like a window into the future, I think stuff like this is much more amazing than any "titanic in space".
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:iconsmpritchard:
SMPritchard Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks!
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:iconamongthefirst:
AmongTheFirst Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
This is really cool. I'm planning to write some fiction about people living on Titan and right now I get a lot of my ideas together drawing a lot of the scenes. I really like this ship
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:iconjerryyeh712:
JerryYeh712 Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Very nice render, texture looks very good as well, great work!
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:iconphoenix1583:
Phoenix1583 Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012
This is outstanding. Very simply model but beautifully executed. Good work.
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:iconsmpritchard:
SMPritchard Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks!
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:icondjomally:
djomally Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012
WOWZER that's Fast!!!!! [link] < random link i found for an estimate on how long it would take to get there now.

Anyway, wonderful design as always! I particularly enjoy the forward Habitat, im gonna go out on a familiar limb and guess that it rotates to provide Gravity? Also i have to ask, what's the section visible directly behind the forwad hab?
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:iconsmpritchard:
SMPritchard Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
That's fusion propulsion for you. :P

Yep, the torus rotates to simulate gravity (half a g at 4 rpms). The section directly aft of the habitat is the aft cargo stowage module.
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:iconvumpalouska:
Vumpalouska Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2012
Realistic spaceship designs have always been among my favourites... It's always intriguing to think about what the crew will experience far away from home, in the distant depths of space.
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:iconsmpritchard:
SMPritchard Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Agreed. It's something SF needs more of. As much as I like them, Star Wars and Star Trek really kind of ruined SF by making space travel look trivial.
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:iconvumpalouska:
Vumpalouska Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012
Exactly... Hard SF is the best SF.
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:icondjomally:
djomally Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012
I have to agree :P
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:iconklingon8088:
Klingon8088 Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2012
I assume this beauty was built in orbit?
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:iconsmpritchard:
SMPritchard Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Yep. There's no way this thing could be launched as is.
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:iconronnieriddik:
RonnieRiddik Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2012  Professional General Artist
Cool !
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:iconsmpritchard:
SMPritchard Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks!
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:iconludo38:
Ludo38 Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2012  Professional General Artist
As always, brillant work !
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:iconsmpritchard:
SMPritchard Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you!
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